This moist chocolate cake with a twist of chilli is delicious and economical. 1 Though see below, there are mixed opinions in our house on how to treat the beet 🙂 The chilli adds a touch of interest, the beet adds colour, texture 2 Too much according to one critic 😉 and moistens the cake. The recipe is adapted (to make it more economical and lower fat (so I can excuse eating it with cream) from one in Lifestyle Blockmagazine from last year..
200ml cooking oil
3/4 cup brown sugar
2-3 tsp Vanilla
Zapped together in the food processor, or by hand.
1 cup flour
1 cup cocoa
1 Tbsp (yes really!) Baking Powder
1/4 tsp Chilli powder
Sifted and mixed.
1 big cooked beetroot
Either: Tim’s preferred version, grate the beet and add to the wet mix. Or: Barbara’s preference, zap the beet while you are zapping the rest of the ‘wet” mix. 3 The difference is the presence or absence of distinct soft red bits of beet in the final cake. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry. Pour into an oiled floured cake tin. 4 I use one with a removable bottom to make getting at the cake quicker once it is baked 😉 Bake at 180C for about 30 mins (or maybe 35 in a non fan oven. I think it is best to remove it while the insides are still a little gooey, because that’s how I like to eat it, with cream 🙂 5 But then I’m not Vegan, Vegans should top with frosting to make up for the lack of cream 😉
Not Vegan because they use eggs, but then our freely ranging chooks produce several a day…
1.25 cups flour
2-3 Tbs cocoa powder
4 tsp baking powder
0.5 cup sugar (at least some brown is nice)
175 ml milk
2 large eggs, beaten (three if they’re from our quasi-bantam 😉
100 ml vegetable oil (soya or sunflower are good)
75 g plain chocolate chunks
2 tsp vanilla extract
Set oven to 160ºC (a bit more if not a fan oven, c375 in the USA).
Prepare a deep muffin tin (with paper cases or if you are stuck grease) it should make a dozen
Sift flour, cocoa and baking powder
Add sugar mix then make a well in the centre
Pour in the milk, eggs, oil, chocolate, and vanilla
Spoon into the muffin tin
Bake for approximately 15 mins or until springy
Cool for 10 mins then transfer to a wire rack and leave any that remain uneaten until cold before putting them away in a tin for later 🙂
I made these because I needed a break after finishing the course notes, I’ve eaten three while uploading this recipe, the only changes I’d make next time, apart from making sure we had paper cups so they could stand properly tall, would be to add more vanilla (we got some proper vanilla extract and it is so much better than imitation “essence”) and to use real dark chocolate instead of Bin Inn’s best chips.
This recipe (as well as being truly vegan 1 apart from the egg glaze – for which vegans will substitute soy milk. has no saturated or hydrogenated fat) for a lower fat pastry works well 2 Actually I’ve only tried the savoury version, but I imagine the sweet one does too 😉
I found it on UK site “Grow your own Fruit and Vegetables” here. The writer does not give a name but developed the technique themself. I’ve tried it and it works.
Low fat pastry for a 20cm pie
225g (8oz) flour
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2-1 tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar (for sweet pastry omit this for savoury dishes)
50g (2oz) vegetable oil (I used rice bran)
4-5 Tbs water
1 egg to glaze (Vegans use soy milk)
Whisk the water and oil in a small bowl with a fork, it will quite soon turn to a cloudy emulsified mixture.
Sift flour and baking powder into a large bowl add salt (and for sweet pastry sugar).
Pour liquid into flour and pull together till it binds. If the mixture is too dry, add a little cold water. Do not overwork it or the pastry will become tough. (Barbara has been watching Britain’s Bake-off on TV so this lesson was drummed into me 😉
Roll out thin and place (roughly half) onto the bottom of a well oiled pie plate. Patch any holes, brush with egg (this helps it become waterproof). Bake blind for 15 min at 210 C.
Add the filling and use the rest of the pastry to cover the pie, this time brush the outside with egg to glaze. Bake at 210 C until the top is brown and crisp 🙂
Regular pastry uses lots of saturated or hydrogenated fat which makes it crisp and acts as waterproofing to keep the filling from making the pastry soggy. There are two things you can do to reduce this problem with low fat pastry:
brush well with egg (yes, not just the top for decoration but the base of the pie too, to seal it)
bake the base “blind” 3 Which means you bake the case before putting in the filling with ordinary (high fat) pastry this step is optional, while you can avoid it here you risk a soggy bottom 😉
Several of the competition recipes need bread to accompany the main dish, and even more fine bean and lentil recipes do, so here’s what I usually do for a tasty fairly quick bread.
Put into the breadmaker (in roughly this order):
a cup or two of warm water (if you are not Vegan you will get softer bread adding an egg to the water or substituting milk for the water)
a Tbsp of dried yeast (the fancy mixes work even better)
a Tbsp of sugar
1-2 cups of wholemeal flour
1-2 cups of plain (strong = breadmaking = hi-grade) flour
some (1/4-1/2 cup?) flax seed (Linseed) to add fibre, and vitamins and minerals, and above all taste
1/4 cup gluten flour
Start the breadmaker on the dough setting, unless you are more practiced than I you will need to adjust the flour and water till the dough seems roughly right (not stickly and sloppy, but not too hard and crumbly either).
Meanwhile put in a covered dish:
1 cup mixed kibbled grain – today I am using kibbled wheat and rye flakes (Isn’t “kibbled” a nice olde worlde word? But I could not get kibbled rye at the supermarket and was not near the bin-inn…)
1 cup boiling water
When the dough is risen switch off at the mains, add the soaked kibbled grains, and switch on again. For really solid and tasty add 1/2 cup seeds (pumpkin, sunflower…). At this stage you may need to add more flour, it depends how dry your soaked grains are…
When kneaded either:
make flatbread – just pull off tennis ball (or a bit smaller) lumps and roll or pat into a flat “loaf”. Leave to rise and then either bake (200C), grill or BBQ sloshing oil and sprinkling with salt makes them even nicer 🙂
make country focaccia, roll into French Stick like sausages. Leave to rise and spread. Bake (200C) till then give a nice solid tump when you tap them.
“Leave to rise” depends on the heat, phases of the moon, how much of a hurry you are in (bread dough before it is ready to cook can sense hungry children and rises more slowly in their presence) but an hour in the airing cupboard or in the oven on 50C is often enough. It should at least double in size.
NB: brushing the top with oil, or milk, or egg, or even water really helps the crust, sprinkling with salt and seeds adds interest too. You can also add herbs, rosemary is great, but add them late in the final mix even after the kibbled grains.